Every year, thousands of people lose their lives in preventable accidents that occur as the direct result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. In these cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may provide financial relief.
Wrongful death suits can bring closure to a grieving family. They cannot put a wrongdoer behind bars, but they can exact another form of justice – punitive damages. In Alabama, surviving family members may receive compensation as a way to punish the person or persons responsible for a loved one’s death.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Alabama?
Every state enforces a different set of wrongful death statutes. In Alabama, family members cannot file a claim on their own. Only the deceased individual’s estate representative can file the claim. People commonly name a preferable estate executor in their wills, but the named individual must accept the role and take on the legal responsibility. If the will does not name an executor or the deceased individual did not have a will, the courts may appoint a spouse, other estate heirs, or someone else.
Why File for Wrongful Death in Alabama?
A wrongful death suit will not provide compensation for a family’s losses, but it can provide meaningful punitive compensation. If the wrongdoer settles or the court awards damages in a wrongful death claim, the estate does not use the proceeds to pay off the deceased individual’s debts. Instead, the proceeds go directly to the estate’s beneficiaries, which may include spouses, children, and others. This is a form of punishing the conduct of the person who caused your loved one’s death and compensated loved ones.
Determining Wrongful Death in Alabama
Wrongful death claims in Alabama arise from acts of negligence or recklessness. An attorney may suggest filing a claim after any negligent event leading to the death of a person, but especially if it involves drunk driving, distracted driving, defective product, unsafe premises, malpractice, or workplace incidents.